Longoven, Richmond, 4/8/23

entrance – 2939 W Clay St., Richmond, VA 23230

Longoven offers a seasonal 10-13 course tasting menu highlighting local products.  Owned by a trio of chefs – Andrew Manning, Patrick Phelan and Megan Fitzroy Phelan – it opened about 5 years ago.  The trio united after varying careers to do a series of pop-up dinners for 4 years starting in 2014.  They didn’t start out intending to offer fine dining but evolution found them receiving tons of awards as they refined their concept of flavors.   Open for dinner Wed through Sat, there are few tables so get your reservation early.  Wine pairings are offered and cocktails can be acquired at the Lost Letter which is the bar in the front of the building.  The Lost Letter and the patio on the side also serve food made in the same kitchen, just a more casual and a la carte version. Fittingly the name refers to the community ovens of the Civil War period.  They do give you copy of the menu at the end of the meal.  The space is fairly dark with dark wood tables and carpet and excellent service.  It is star for the Richmond dining scene and a bargain at $155/person.  Go if you get the opportunity.


Lost Letter bar area
Frankie liked the table flowers



With a moist towel greeting was a cup of cocoa nib tea with cardamon.  It was warm and lovely.  We enjoyed a glass of champagne with the beginning snacks and then moved to a bottle of wine

moist cloth


Next were a series of snacks.  A mushroom cracker was a flax cracker topped with cheese, pepper and mushroom slices.  The mushroom essence was the dominant flavor on the crisp cracker.

mushroom cracker

A masa tart was seasoned with miso and basil.  It had a lovely aftertaste.

masa tart

Fried salt cod brandade was topped with black garlic and filled with wonderful shredded cod.  The crisp ball was light and perfect to pair with it.

fried cod brandade
from the side

Uni waffle was seasoned with sorghum and served on a crisp waffle.  Very good.

uni waffle


A scallop was plated with wasabi, parsley juice, dill, chervil, tarragon, green apple gel and tapioca pearls.  This was a refreshing and light dish with subtle flavors.  The tapioca brought a fun caviar texture to the dish without the salt.

scallop and herbs


Spicy grilled lobster contained chili oil grilled lobster, ginger crunch, pickled spruce and chervil alongside pine nut puree.  Here the seasonings really accented the fine flavor of the lobster but didn’t overpower it.  Tasty and very savory.

spicy grilled lobster


Crab Congee contained snow crab, carnaroli congee, smoked crab broth, crab oil, kombu oil, grilled negi onions, and aromatic crab broth.  The broth was smoked with red oak and the crab shells which made a very flavorful broth.  Some rice was on the bottom of the dish which helped bring it all together.  Very nice.

crab congee
Frankie rested on the bathroom towels


Celeriac, Chestnut and Black Truffle was made by layering the celeriac with chestnut/chocolate miso, then steamed in kombu and spice broth and seasoned with black truffle.  Some Manchego cheese was in this mix.  The wonderful celeriac was great paired with the strong truffle flavor. Nice textural contrasts also made this a lovely dish with a great aftertaste.

celeriac, chestnut, black truffle


Sunchoke Créme Caramel was a savory sunchoke flan with chicken/mirin glaze, crispy sunchoke skins and chicken fat.  The smooth custard contrasted nicely with the crunch of the sunchoke skin. This was served warm and I’d call it good but not incredible.  One off-putting touch was the piece of burlap draped under the bowl.  I didn’t get it.

sunchoke creme caramel
Frankie wondered about the burlap


Roasted Maitake Mushroom was made with croasted maitake, aromatic chicken broth, mushroom garum and scallion.  If I understood correctly the broth was made with shitake, which made a very flavorful broth.  The dish was quite savory as the grilling really brought out the flavor of the maitake.

Roasted maitake mushroom


Farona and Molé was Guinea hen breast with shitake mushroom and fermented black bean molé.  Some grilled Brussels sprout leaves provided the final garnish.  The chicken was cooked perfectly and blended nicely with the fruity sauce.  Some cooked and lightly pickled shitake made an excellent combination of flavors.  A fine plate.

farona and mole
Frankie thought she was in the jungle


Ginger Silken Tofu contained Campari, rhubarb and lemon tapioca was a palate cleanser. It was cold with lots of frozen bits and tartness from the rhubarb.  The Campari was an interesting addition.

ginger silken tofu
from the side


Almond and Cacao Nib was made with almond ice cream, chocolate sponge cake, and cacao nib tea semifreddo.  Some roasted almonds topped the ice cream which had a good strong almond flavor.  Both cake bits were less well-flavored and didn’t add much sweetness to the dish.

almond and cacao nib


The Mignardise were yuzu tartlet, hazelnut milk chocolate petit four, Passionfruit pate de fruit and a sesame chocolate bar.  The sesame bar was the long gold rectangle and oddly had the flavor of peanut butter, which was quite yummy.  The yuzu tart was topped with meringue and was tart but nice.  The chocolate hazelnut square was quite good and the passionfruit was the dome gel.



A parting gift was a box with 2 delicious butter cookies.

Frankie and the parting gift

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